Woodstock, Automobile Inventions and President Clinton Tells All…sorta

In Need of Cruise Control?

In Need of Cruise Control?

On This Date In History:  The guy who invented the cruise control on your automobile was born on this date…in 1890!  Seems the little item was invented years before it became popular.  He actually had the device patented in 1945 and called it “Controlmatic”, “Touchomatic”, “Pressomatic” and “Speedostat” before finally settling on “cruise control.”  It didn’t show up on automobiles though until Chrysler offered it in 1958.  Here’s the kicker.  Inventor Ralph Teetor was blind after age 6 yet went on to be a successful manufacturing executive, entrepreneur and engineer.  Remarkable.  Perhaps this will inspire you to do great things amidst difficulty. One other thing.  Here is an obituary of H. David Sturdy that claims it was he who invented the cruise control as an employee of Teeter and not Teeter.  I’ve not seen his name show up anywhere else.  Perhaps he is the Hector Heathcoat of the auto world. 



 Charles F Kettering patented another automotive invention on this date in 1915.  He and Edward Deeds had been fooling around with a better way to start a car than getting out and cranking it up.  Their electric “self starter” was ground breaking and led to a decrease in broken backs.  They formed the company Delco which became a part of GM.  These guys brought all sorts of innovations to the automobile that are still in use today.  Interesting thing about Kettering…before he started working on cars, he invented the first electric cash register.

Bet Bill Wishes This Pic didnt exist

Bet Bill Wishes This Pic didnt exist

This Date in 1998 is a day that President Clinton would like to forget…he testified before a grand jury in the Paula Jones case and got hung up when they started asking about Monica Lewinsky.  He gave his infamous rhetorical question about the meaning of “is” and said he gave “legally accurate” testimony.  You know the rest.

Doesn't Janis Joplin Resemble Ozzie Osbourne?

Doesn't Janis Joplin Resemble Ozzie Osbourne?

Perhaps the President might have been better off turning on, tuning and dropping out doing as the folks were doing at a farm in Bethel, New York on this date in 1969 where they Woodstock Music and Art Fair was winding up.  Funny…I don’t recall any stories about art.  I was but a lad but I have seen the movie a bunch of times.  It inspired me to go to big festivals.  Willie Nelson’s picnic was an experience…as was the Houston Jam when it was about 105 degrees in the always humid Houston. I have stories to tell but I won’t…instead you can see pictures and read stories about the one that started in all…Woodstock.

Just click here and take a ride back to 1969

Weather Bottom Line:   Enjoy today.  Maybe an isolated t’storm in 90 degree heat.  After today, it kinda tanks.  What is left of Tropical Storm Claudette will be in northern Mississippi by early Tuesday.  It probably won’t be discernable but the moisture from the former, short lived tropical system will get caught  up in the flow ahead of a frontal boundary.  The GFS has a shortwave coming through the flow to enhance t’storm chances while the NAM does not. 

Wed 8am to Thur 8am

Wed 8am to Thur 8am

But, so what.  Added moisture, a front coming in, afternoon heating.  Look for some t’storms floating about on Tuesday afternoon.  The front doesn’t quite get here and goes on the retreat but lingering moisture from Claudette will probably conspire with the sun to provide scattered activity.  Then, Thursday afternoon, a pretty strong front comes down and our rain chances go up markedly.  This is the front that is supposed to be strong enough to get to the East Coast and break down the ridge in the Atlantic such that it will cause Hurricane Bill to turn before it makes it to the United States.   At least that’s what all of the models say…except one.  The UKMET wants to sneak Bill under the trof.  We’ll see.   Anyway, the front is pretty strong so the story will be the storms and perhaps heavy rain on late Thursday with decidedly cooler temperatures into the weekend…well below seasonal averages, again.  Wednesday into Thursday there is a  slight risk for severe weather and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that area expanded eastward for the Thursday/Friday time frame which I would  think include Louisville.


4 Responses

  1. Whaaat? How could you say janis looks like ozzy? make it the other way around!

  2. no way! i seid janise jopline looks like ossei osborn to! and pluse i think tom cruise is cute…. hee hee!

  3. man, i just love her belting out heavy little-girl truck driver blues. « mona lisa must’ve had the highway blues.[…] credits: janis // diane // […]

  4. This is a reproduction of comments made under the “about” page but is relevant to this post.

    Symon … I wanted to mention something to you concerning an old posting of yours and possibly I could add a little “local knowledge” of the events … not saying my recollections are perfect, however may be interesting … again maybe not. I worked with H. David Sturdy in 1997/1998 as the Chief Executive Officer of Sturdy Power Corporation in Wilmington, NC. Dave (as I knew him … his son was called David) was semi-retired but fascinated with developing a mission critical generator set that could be dropped from a plane if necessary and deployed to provide both AC and DC power to remote locations … there were other applications as well, but I digress. Some discussion arose from his obituary way back in December of 2005 or ’06 mentioning he invented the cruise control. I was hired by Dave and he told me stories concerning his time with Perfect Circle. As an aside I can tell you Dave was the founder of Sturdy Controls, still operating today, heavily involved in digital controllers of all types for multiple worldwide clients. Dave was an engineering guru with controllers. In brief Dave told me that he worked for Dana and on to Perfect Circle where he developed a speed controller for busses. Whether this was in tandem or under the direction of Mr. Teeter I do not recall in Dave’s recounting. What I do recall is that Perfect Circle brass did not think much of the profit outlook for the speed control and told Dave he could “have it”, whereupon Dave moved to Wilmington, NC and started Sturdy Controls. Dave was a very interesting guy … like many inventive and entrepreneurial types … Dave was not without his quirks. He worked very hard and played very hard … he rubbed some people the wrong way for certain. If you rubbed him the wrong way you might get “5 in the Features”, if you know what I mean. He was a world class sailor and loved tinkering. I am not so certain the Perfect Circle brass just wanted Dave out of the picture because he could be a cantankerous personality and they figured, “Let’s just give him that damn speed control thing and maybe he will go away!” They say that musicians have quirky personalities … in that same vein, H. David Sturdy was a piece of work. I moved from Wilmington in 2003. He and I had our differences, however when all said and done, I missed the son of a gun after I left … you never wanted to be unprepared with Dave and he pushed the buttons to make you deliver, be more intelligent, and in an ersatz way understand business management styles to avoid. Did he invent the cruise control … he always said he did … however he also said the only reason to get a patent is so somebody cannot come along and sue you saying you stole their idea.

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